When we finally get that opportunity to put on our best clothes and have that sit-down with a prospective SEO client, it’s really easy for us to talk about the bad and the ugly: what’s broken on their website, what’s missing in their local search results, what’s wrong with their content, what’s… well, you get the picture. It’s so easy that we often forget to even mention the good. But I’d argue that what encompasses the good — the SEO techniques your prospect is currently (and perhaps even unknowingly) employing — is something that we need to focus on first.

In both the writing and academic worlds, there is a peer reviewing concept called “Praise, Question, Polish.” This concept is basically what its title suggests, and the National Council of Teachers of English has helpfully provided some sample PQP questions in this handout. I like to use a modified version of “Praise, Question, Polish” when I’m talking to potential clients about marketing packages and SEO techniques that will help their business. In other words, I always like to start a sales pitch with what the company’s website is doing RIGHT.


Praising Successful SEO Techniques: Phase One of PQP

Start off an SEO marketing pitch with praise. Prior to this meeting, you should have evaluated the company’s current website to see what types of digital marketing successes are currently being employed. Look at anything and everything. Does the prospect rank for more keywords than its top competitors? How do the number and/or quality of backlinks compare with its top competitors? Even if the website is horribly organized, does it have quality, unique content that can be easily restructured to be SEO-friendly? How are the site images optimized? Does the site work well on mobile devices? Does it have good reviews in local directories? Again: look at anything and everything.


Questioning Your Prospect’s SEO Techniques: Phase Two of PQP

Remember that there is a reason behind nearly everything. It’s your job to respectfully determine the reasoning behind your automotive prospect’s fifteen blog entries about banana bread. When you ask questions about someone’s search engine optimization techniques AFTER you’ve shown them what they’re doing right, they will be more open to constructive criticism.


Polishing Your Prospect’s SEO Techniques: Phase Three of PQP

What specific digital marketing improvements do you recommend for your prospective client? Be sure to focus on enhancing — or polishing — what your prospective client already executes correctly. Do they have a very loyal Instagram following? Discuss how they can drive these followers to their website to increase sales. Do they blog frequently? Discuss how you can develop keyword strategies and blog topics to drive qualified traffic to their website.

Specific examples of how I’ve landed clients by using PQP can be found below.


Example One: Quality Content Is a Successful SEO Technique

I once met with a prospect with a very successful design business. His website received a ton of traffic, and he ranked for nearly TWENTY THOUSAND keywords. He’d published hundreds of blog entries, and he’d regularly receive dozens of comments on each blog. Clearly, this prospect was doing something right, and he deserved to be commended for it. He knew that in order to attract traffic, he needed to generate quality content. And he was doing just that. Once I honed in on his TWENTY THOUSAND keywords, however, I discovered something interesting: he didn’t rank for ANY keywords related to the products and services he actually sold on his website. Not one. Out of TWENTY THOUSAND ranking keywords, not one of them related to ecommerce. Since I first showed this prospect how well he was doing regarding online traffic, it was easy to discuss how I could help him do even better (and actually start selling online!) with strategic keyword research and optimization — and basic SEO.


Example Two: Earning Quality Backlinks Is a Successful SEO Technique

A business owner in the local hospitality industry contacted me because SEO services interested her. As I prepped for our sit-down, I discovered that her site had been set to discourage search engines from indexing it since its creation. But I also discovered that even though her site was not indexed by Google, she still ranked for nearly 50 very important keywords! How did this happen? Since her local community respected her business, she had a TON of high-quality backlinks to her website. Local SEOs fight for high-quality backlinks, and it was absolutely amazing that she already had all of them. This business owner trusted me because I was very open about what she’d been doing correctly, so it was a great pleasure to come up with an SEO package that could push her business to even farther heights.


Let Me Help You or Your Clients with SEO Techniques

Need some help with enhancing your own SEO? Want to run a potential client by me so we can figure out what SEO techniques already work on their website? Just let me know.

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